351 views | Prince Charles Dickson PhD | July 19, 2020
A few years ago I told a friend, and lawyer Barrister Madaki that Nigeria was (and still is) a wonderful and funny place. I told him anytime God wanted to watch comedy He did tune in on Nigeria 101 on the satellite for the best of laughs…not just serious comedic and clowning laughs but those laughs that are as a result of the fact that you cannot cry. He sees the horrors of Syria, the wars of militias across to Talibans everywhere and groups from India, Libya, Southern America and even a tiny bit of Nigeria but nothing is bitterly tragicomedy like what Nigeria provides.
So from 1999 till date, two ruling parties let me share thoughts with us, there were places, institutions and cities you could count the numbers of cars, like we knew the car owners in University of Jos, or the number of car owners in Ado Ekiti, but boom like the 1972 Udoji salary awards of the Gowon era of too much money and not knowing how to spend and then everyone suddenly could somehow afford a ‘Tokunbo’ car and many cities sprawled with low and high-cost buildings.
We saw the coming of the new age politicians, the wardrobe and furniture allowances crew, we saw the monetization and advent of the hallelujah boys. Today it is the billionaire stealing babies. But let’s all hold our breath for a moment.
Has anyone been jailed for the $356m Failed Railway contract for the rehabilitation of Lot 3 of the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s Eastern line of Calabar to Maiduguri?
How about Halliburton, or the numerous power frauds, my error I mean power projects. How about the various erosion, and road fraud, roads that have been under construction for more than 10 years and yet no end in sight, the Defense budget stealing in the name of fighting insurgents and insurgency. Is it the Manbila project or the Air Nigeria Mungo Park Nigeria Ltd arrangement that surprised real witches that actually fly.
We came up with the EFCC and sister organization the ICPC to possibly compliment the fraud units of the police and others, yet millions and billions of public treasury money continue to be stolen, as our leaders do to us, close your eyes and open sesame it’s gone.
Ten years and counting, the Niger River Bridge is still under construction, alongside various river-dredging frauds. With the exception of the Abuja stadium for the COGA in 2003 and all the housing estate, what big elephant project have we started from beginning to end and which still remains functional. Even the COGA games were riddled with the BMW cars scam and other laughable scandals.
So why is the devil not laughing at us, when we are again being entertained by Akpabio, the untouchable touched woman, what’s that her name again, and Commander Wike, the Police, and the NDDC. That is after we just finished Magu and co PLC.
So the devil, not only trembled but also laughed as the NDDC under an Interim Management Committee squandered N81.5bn for just mechetra that included going to the UK for graduations during COVID19 lockdown and condolence visits in hundreds of millions. Why are we dramatic, after all, every other year Abacha the late, extends his goodwill to his irresponsible crybabies and countrymen by vomiting millions in foreign currencies to us.
Whether Npower, trader money or that of the last government run by the PDP, whether NAPEP, PAP or Custard…it’s laughable when we remember that state where Zimbabwean farmers were brought to masquerade the people. I have deliberately left out the criminal ventures masterminded by state governors past and present or the ministers, who started the bribe for budgets, we still die on the roads that cost billions, intact the most expensive by far per kilometre, like bridges that collapse before delivery.
So the devil laughs because all the billions, these days trillions, the National Hospital is a mess and a scam, all the teaching hospitals and specialist ones are no better. The nation of Nigeria, a giant of Africa, and most populous black nation on earth has no world standard hospital, still depends on India, Germany and everywhere for healthcare.
The devil keeps laughing when he’s at the Nnamdi Azikwe airport compared to other airports, although after the last Chinese treatment it looked presentable. All the trillions we don’t have any world-class stadium, the uncommon ground in Uyo was near one but that’s sad for the nation of Kanu Nwankwo, Okocha and Amokachi.
The fact that having produced greats like Soyinka, Achebe, and giants in the fields of science, medicine and arts, our schools are not in the top 10, 50 or top 1000. If ASSU is not fighting the government, the lecturers are subject to other forms of mutually engaged harassment. It isn’t laughable that we don’t have world-class schools in our clime, it is just who we are.
It’s 20 years plus in our own contraption defined democracy and we have not been able to build one solid oil refinery. Meanwhile, let’s look at this, the Kaduna refinery spent N24 billion in direct costs to record zero revenue and an operating loss of N64 billion for 2018, as against N2 billion naira revenue and N112 billion losses in 2017.
A breakdown of the direct costs and administrative expenses showed that it incurred N447.7 million in Training Expenses, training for what? Security expenses of N230 million, what are they securing you dare ask. Communication expenses of N37.3 million, and Consultancy fees of N843 million, that term that every Nigerian institution applies when they want to steal.
For the Warri Refining Company, the audited financial statement showed that the company earned N1.98 billion as revenue while it incurred N12.74 billion as cost of sales, resulting in a gross loss of N10.57 billion and an operating loss of N45.39 billion. Just imagine!
Meanwhile, a breakdown of the payments made to directors at the Kaduna Refinery showed that total employee cost was put at N23 billion in 2018, compared to N27 billion in 2017. The payments include salaries and wages, death benefit, administrative expenses, among others.
Aside that, details showed that in 2018, there were a total of 32 higher-paid employees of the company, other than directors, whose works were done in Nigeria. The remuneration for this set of employees ranges from those who earned between N100,000 and N1 million and those who earned N15 million and above. Earlier in 2017, the number of this category of staff was put at 1,022, representing about 340 percent difference in both years.
As per the directors’ remuneration for 2018, excluding pension contributions and certain other benefits, the figure was put at N109 million, as against N249 million in 2017. Also, the highest-paid director earned N33 million in 2018, as against N27 million in 2017.
Okay, this is it, let us assume, hypothetically that we are only a 100M Nigerians as against the so much touted 200M thereabout, with the exception of few factories and manufacturing outfits in the likes of Onitsha, Kano, Lagos, and let me add oil firms, where is the company that employs more than the federal government that just runs a redundant outfit.
We don’t have any world-class outfit, we have world-class and Nigerian certified corruption that stains the hard work, talent and skills of many honest Nigerians, we are flogged by a nation that has more political billionaires than we have millionaire business people. No great hospital. No great school, no great facility that brings pride to the heart considering the investment.
Let me end in this manner, while we are celebrating a 120km surface standard gauge rail line at the end of the 21st century, speaking via his tweet, HH Sheikh Mohammed @HHShkmohd revealed, “we announced 47 months ago about the extension of the Dubai Metro red line at the cost of 11 billion dirhams. Today (July 8) we are launching our project with 50 trains, 7 stations, 125,000 passengers daily 12,00 engineers and technicians and 80million hours of work on time as promised. We say what we do, and do what we say. This is Dubai.” Can Nigeria do what it says it will do for once…or would we allow the devil to keep laughing at us—only time will tell.